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of " The Century of the 
" Love and Marriage," etc. 

i > 





Ck)pyright, 1911, 

All rights reserved 


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- i r * 



> J J J J J 


ELLEN KEY'S startling views on 
the marriage relation in ''Love and 
Marriage" imply far more than a 
refusal to accept the sanctified, time-hon- 
ored beliefs held by the majority to-day. 
The heat of the arguments provoked by 
her bold contentions often blinds her ad- 
versaries to the basic moral good in her 
creed. She elucidates some of the most 
difficult problems in eugenics by showing 
how the right marriage relation, founded 
on a higher moral standard in the sex re- 
lation, will make woman more capable 
of doing her share in the great work, of 
social reconstruction.' 

Valuable suggestions for the child-cul- 
ture of the future are offered when she 
insists upon a change in the conditions 
which hamper woman in her highest 

work as a mother, and rob children of a 



. : : 0*. '': - "'": Note 
:.: I- :/:.-" ::.o!;-. . 

mother's care. Love has assumed a deep- 
er aspect since woman's powers have been 
liberated, hence we must strive for a high- 
er perfection in the relation of the sexes. 
In ''Love and Ethics" she deals with 
sex problems with the courage and the 
purity of mind which such themes de- 
mand, and she challenges the permanence 
of current ideals against the law of life 
which means change and growth. We 
must anticipate the necessity of establish- 
ing a new standard of moral values if 
present-day social wrongs and abuses are 
to be remedied. Ellen Key points the 
way to these higher values, without de- 
manding that her revolutionary ideas of 
reform be translated into immediate ac- 
tion. Conditions are not ripe for the rad- 
ical changes she suggests. A gradual 
transformation of moral values must lead 
the way to a better future, founded on a 
higher conception of love. 

A. K. B. 


IN love, in which the happiness of the 
individual and the well-being of 
society so frequently conflict, the 
present conception of duty demands the 
unconditional sacrifice of the individual 
to society. All the state needs, we are 
told, is healthy fathers and mothers, the 
certainty of the permanent union of the 
parents to secure the education of their 
progeny. Whenever the happiness of the 
individual interferes with this require- 
ment, the individual must be sacrificed. 
That this entails suffering upon him is no 
reason for loosening the marriage bond, 
and certainly not so long as the majority 
of parents are agreed that children are 
best cared for in the family. Therefore, 
it is said, the state is not interested in any 


8 Love and Ethics 

change in marriage forms. To facilitate 
divorce would not remove the causes of 
the discords that arise whenever human 
beings live in close union. Even if the 
present form of marriage does not meet 
the demands of the most highly developed 
types of men and women, we must accept 
the status that benefits society as a whole 
when confronted with the choice between 
an innovation that would benefit the few 
but be harmful to the many and the exist- 
ing order that brings suffering to the few 
but benefits the collectivity. At the pres- 
ent time easy divorce would only slacken 
the marriage tie by making for disinte- 
gration. The destruction of the family, 
hence of the nation, would be the result. 
Accordingly, for love to demand happi- 
ness is downright rebellion against the 
welfare of the state. History, ethnog- 
raphy, and nature do not bear out the 
theory that happiness is to be achieved 
by individualism in love. The lesson 

Love and Ethics 9 

they teach is that of quiet self-denial and 
courageous fulfilment of duty. As soon as 
children come, it is said, the parents' de- 
mands for their own happiness must cease. 
If they do not, nature, in obedience to her 
laws, will punish them for the neglect of 
their duty through the children. 

The great error in this theory of duty, 
not only as it affects love but even all 
other human relations, is the notion that 
society is necessarily benefited by the sac- 
rifice of the individual. And the evidence 
adduced to prove this theory is equally 
false. What history and ethnography 
show is but the workings of what we call 
human nature, a very changing phenom- 
enon varying with time, /nationality, and 
climate. They show that what * ' nature' ' 
commands on the one hand she forbids 
on the other, that what is denied her in 
one way she exacts in another way. In 
France, for example, the arguments ad- 
vanced to-day against divorce are that 

10 Love and Ethics 

'^ remarriage is against nature," that **a 
woman is never a true mother outside the 
family," that the family does not depend 
upon what our reason tells us, but upon 
''natural laws" proved by sociology and 
biology. Such arguments make it diffi- 
cult to forget the ''natural law" that has 
made adultery the shadow of indissoluble 
marriage, especially in France. Every 
defence of marriage confirms Lassalle's 
words, that the art of petty diplomatic 
souls consists in lying away the truth and 
denying what is. One would suppose, on 
hearing these arguments, that those who 
attack marriage were trying to destroy a 
beautiful idyl. As a matter of fact, the 
horrors of the present system are such 
that what we should do is compare them 
with the possible dangers of a new system 
and see which are to be dreaded the more. 
Even if the social conditions to-day were 
not the cause of much impurity and un- 
happiness, the question is not, "Are mod- 

Love and Ethics 11 

ern marriages good enough for the needs 
of society?" The question is, ''How can 
we find a more efficient ethical code than 
the present one for improving the spe- 

The basic idea of ' 'Love and Marriage' ' ^ 
was not that the individual must obtain the 
highest mea^U7X of happiness in the love re" 
lationj but that society must be so adjusted 
as to 7nake the happiness of the individual 
subserve the betterment of the species. 

In "Love and Marriage" I pointed out 
that those who insist on monogamy, that 
is, a lifelong love relation, as the only 
moral relationship between the sexes dis- 
regard the inevitable consequence of such 
an ethical standard, namely, the waste of A 
a large amount of splendid life energy 
which if utilized would produce fine off- 
spring and so aid in the improvement of 
the race; while the worse elements of so- 
ciety would not be deterred by any ethical 
principle from propagating their kind. 

12 Love and Ethics 

Such high-strung idealism would produce 
the same results as the convents in the 
Middle Ages, and, under present social 
conditions, this standard of morality- 
would hinder the improvement of the 
species, although the trend of evolution is 
unmistakably toward real unity of love 
as the final goal, and although unity of 
the soul and the senses can already be 
laid down as the condition of true chastity 
in the union of the sexes in or out of mar- 

From the point of view of the good of 
the species, the legal and ecclesiastical 
form of morality cannot hold its ground 
against the most highly developed sex 
consciousness of to-day and its ethics. 
Morality seeks new standards in itself as 
well as in the laws governing the condi- 
tions that make for the improvement of 
the race, laws which science has already 
discovered, or, with ever-increasing zeal, 
is seeking to discover. These laws and 

Love and Ethics 13 

this consciousness, I pointed out in my 
previous work, may sometimes conflict. 
Sex idealism, for example, holds that the 
sole sanction for parenthood is love. The 
eugenists point to the fact that many 
fine children spring from mothers that 
never loved the fathers of those children. 
Sex idealism insists on unity of love. The 
eugenists show that fidelity is responsible 
for a great deal of unproductiveness and 
in so far is a waste to the species, 
while infidelity has been productive of 
much good to the species. Sex idealism 
contends that those parents are the best 
whose love is most steadfast. The eugen- 
ists maintain that the most important 
thing for humanity is that those men 
and women should unite for parenthood 
who are best equipped for it, whether 
with or without love, with or without 
marriage. They cite as examples the 
nations that have had a long, vigorous 
existence, although love played no part 

14 Love and Ethics 

in the contraction of their marriages. 
Sex idealism replies by saying that the 
maintenance of a nation is one thing, 
the elevation of the soul another. Na- 
tions may exist by virtue of their ignoble 
qualities as well as their noble qualities. 
The species can be elevated only by erad- 
icating inherited savage and animal traits 
through selection. 

All other problems of life must be re- 
garded from this one point of view, the 
elevation of the species. Are the chil- 
dren of the upstart millionaire as a rule 
strong, beautiful, and healthy? If not, 
then the mad chase after wealth must be 
condemned not only as an indirect but as 
a direct hindrance to the improvement of 
the race. If men or women who are fit 
for parenthood but not for love suffer 
through celibacy and could lead a fuller 
life if allowed to present fine children to 
society; or even if some men or women 
are fit for love but not for a single life- 

Love and Ethics 15 

long love, then the one-love idealist has 
no more right to impose his standard of 
love upon them than they have to im- 
pose their standard upon him. 

That, however, is just what is being 
attempted, especially among those of our 
youth who recognize no idealism other 
than their own. Even our young ''free- 
thinkers' ' do not regard the sex question 
with a free, open mind. They seem to 
think there are only two possibilities, 
either to be a slave to desire or a slave to 
duty. And the rest ''plead for chains 
and pray for barriers." They look up 
timetables, sailing dates, and Cook's 
tours and take out passports for safety. 
Then where is the courage that goes 
ahead on its own responsibility and at its 
own peril opens up new paths and tries to 
discover new countries? The young gen- 
eration, even the Lelf -styled "truth seek- 
ers," complain of the inconsistency, the 
contradictoriness in the treatment of this 

16 Love and Ethics 

subject, forgetting that in love life itself 
assumes its most contradictory form. Do 
they not know that life is a living thing 
and therefore incalculable, that life is not' 
a hard and fast fact, but a growth with 
undivined possibilities, that it leads us 
and all other creatures along mysterious 
paths and so discloses things we never 
dreamed of in our philosophy? Have 
they no glimmering that life often holds 
in store unexpected destinies, marvellous 
experiences, blossoms of our own being 
and other beings that we shall never fore- 
see? Do they not feel that the beauty of 
life is its very incalculableness; that 
greatness in life is to rise to heights 
through all of life's uncertainties? 

If we only perceived this, we should 
never demand a fixed ideal, no matter 
how lofty. The man who knew that the 
next day his ideal would become the gen- 
eral, established ideal would instantly de- 
stroy it, so gruesome is the thought that 

Love and Ethics 17 

infinite life should thenceforth proceed 
according to a single model. 

Idealism, we should then perceive, may 
signify only one thing that each person 
values his ideal so highly that he is will- ' 
ing to live and die for it, even though to 
others it may seem unimportant, foolish, 
or even shameful. 

He is an idealist who swings a heavy 
hammer and rams into place the stones 
of the concept of duty, thereby paving a 
smooth road for others to travel. But 
either side of the road stretches the earth, 
which bears life from the poles to the | 

equator, life with its countless shades of I 

customs and temperaments. To think of 
insisting upon a great lifelong love as the 
sole moral standard for this varied life! 

He who so insists has never allowed his 
thoughts to stray beyond the narrow cir- 
cle prescribed by his like-minded neigh- 
bors. He forgets that an ideal, a thing 
incomprehensible to the majority, is 

18 Love and Ethics 

bound to be entirely set aside if it is 
forced upon mankind as absolute. 

To proclaim a belief that flows from 
one's own spiritual state is very different 
from demanding that same spiritual state 
in others. When a man proclaims his 
belief by his teachings or his life, he con- 
tributes to the spread of a state of soul 
like his own; others are influenced to pat- 
tern their spiritual self -culture and their 
self -given laws of life upon his. But hav- 
ing proclaimed himself subjectively, his 
task is done. 

If all social problems, customs, usages, 
and pleasures were to be measured by 
their effect upon the human race, we 
should perhaps arrive at that absolute 
ethical standard which is now lacking. 
But all this must first be investigated. 
In Europe monogamy is established as 
the absolute moral law, the necessary 
condition for the maintenance and health 
of the nations. But among such hardy 

Love and Ethics 19 

nations as the modern Japanese and the 
ancient Hebrews we find concubinage an 
institution sanctioned by law and custom. 
A nation in which marriages are con- 
tracted only from deep personal love is at 
a great disadvantage as against other na- 
tions and must perish, because deep per- 
sonal love is still an exception for which 
so high a price must be paid that he who 
has paid it does not possess the courage to 
impose it as an ethical demand on others. 
For this and many other reasons I 
maintained in ''Love and Marriage" that 
the modern sex problem consists in find- 
ing the proper equilibrium between, on v^ 
the one hand, the requirements for the 
improvement of the species and, on the 
other hand, the increased demands of the 
individual to be happy in love; whereas 
formerly the problem was only between 
society's demands for fixed marriage 
forms and the individual's demands to 
satisfy his sex life in any form. The sex 

i*. 20 Love and Ethics 

ethics that proceeds from this new equi- 
librium will be the only true ethics. It 
will efifect an upliftment of life in both 
the species and the individual. 

The problem of sex, as I have also 
pointed out in ''Love and Marriage," is 
the problem of life, it is the problem of 
society's happiness, in comparison with 
which all other problems sink into insig- 
nificance. Education, every cultural ef- 
fort in intellectual and religious matters 
will remain superficial until we regard as 
the main question, that which determines 
all other cultural schemes, the elevation 
of the human race. We must strive for 
the elevation of the human race not only 
as has been done heretofore through the 
self-improvement of the individuals in 
each generation, but through their selec- 
tive instinct, which as it develops in in- 
sight will enable them the better to rec- 
ognize the conditions that determine the 
propagation of the species. 

Love and Ethics 21 

However, as against the one-sided point 
of view of race-culture, I have in ''Love 

and Marriage" stated the hypothesis that 
in love humanity has found the form of 
selection most conducive to the ennoblement 
of the species. Yet the earnest truth- 
seeker cannot possibly think of setting up 
his unproved hypothesis as an irrefragable 
principle. All I pled for was greater 
freedom in love, that we might have the 
opportunity of observing its effect. I 
also urged that in the study of the influ- 
ences of heredity more attention be paid 
to the effect of love. To gain an ever 
clearer insight into the combinations that 
transmit ancestral traits and so be better 
able to discover the laws of selection by 
which life in all its aspects ascends to 
higher levels; to make these laws morally 
binding, so that selection should secure 
the best qualities and eradicate the worst 
this is indeed the universal aim of evo- 

22 Love and Ethics 

Even those who are profoundly con- 
vinced of the importance of the one-love 
form as a factor in evolution must admit 
that there are many other factors be- 
sides, which no idealistic fanaticism can 
conjure away from the process of evolu- 
tion. The life force that has created out 
of two cells and two cell-souls our com- 
plex being and given rise to the manifold 
marriage forms and ideals of love that 
now determine the species is merely the 
last link in a chain of evolution begin- 
ning billions of years ago. And since we 
know that this evolution of love was ef- 
fected without any predetermined ideal 
type, there is no good reason to doubt 
that Eros will continue to mould a cos- 
mos out of the existing chaos of sex rela- 
tions without imposing upon the present 
as an ethical norm the ideal type of 
which we are now beginning to have a 
dawning perception. On the other hand 
those who think that the whole matter 

Love and Ethics 23 

can be left to the ^^ natural instincts" or 
to the gratification of the senses, or those 
who believe that it can be left to the di- 
vine instinct for what is good and right, 
forget that man's own power to create 
ideals has long been a factor in evolution, 
and that the only question at present is, 
''How can this force be made an agent 
for good in evolution?" 

By bending our efforts to the improve- 
ment of the race we shall, as I explained 
in ''Love and Marriage," build a bridge ,/ 
to lead from the present chaos in love / 
toward the one personal love relation. 
This, too, is the only way in which love 
can be rid of its irrational character, ^^ 
which Goethe described by saying that in 
love everything is a hazard, because every- 
thing depends upon chance. All of this, 
however, is only another name for undis- 
covered laws. Some day we shall reach a 
point where the erotic discord between 
the soul and the senses physically and the 

24 Love and Ethics 

discord between several persons psychic- 
ally will be impossible, for it is the desire 
of every soul to experience the highest 
happiness. And the highest happiness 
can be attained only through the large 
feelings, which by psychologic necessity 
exclude the many small ones. But the 
road still to be traversed is very long, 
and meanwhile there are pure souls that 
have loved more than once, because, hav- 
ing looked in vain for the complete em- 
bodiment of their ideal in one individual, 
they have found one side of it in one 
person, another side in another person. 
There are pure souls, who upon discover- 
ing a new soul mate can forget their pre- 
vious experiences as if they had never oc- 
curred; other pure souls there are who, 
because they have erred in their great 
love, have lost their capacity for further 

"Love and Marriage" was addressed to 
those of our youth who have consecrated 

Love and Ethics 25 

themselves with new devotion to guard- 
ing the gift of life, those, therefore, who 
know that the ethical law is not written 
upon tablets of stone, but upon tablets of 
flesh and blood, who feel that their own 
noble happiness in love is a service to life, 
surpassing in devotion every service to 
God. But the question where freedom of 
love ends and the right of the new gen- 
eration begins is a question which they, 
too, must decide. 

Since we still know so little of the con- 
ditions that make for the best offspring 
physically as well as psychically, the faith 
of the idealist in the importance of love 
cannot obtain greater social concessions 
to love than those which will not endan- 
ger the certainty of evolution. Of all 

social concessions to be demanded the 
most essential is that the standard by 
which the morality of parenthood is 
measured should be, not the marriage rite 
but the will of two human beings to as 


26 Love and Ethics 

sume the responsibility for their children, 
not the legitimacy of the children but the 
kind of children they are. The second 
social concession to be insisted upon is 
that the dissolution of marriage should 
be made dependent upon the will of one 
of the married pair, and that the man and 
woman should have equal marital rights. 
While society, therefore, has until now 
been satisfied if husband and wife merely 
continued to live together, no matter 
under what adverse circumstances, and 
reared children no matter how bad, the 
new conception of duty will aid in the 
elevation of life. For these new princi- 
ples have all the prerequisites to an or- 
ganic growth of duty combined with hap- 
piness, of responsibility combined with 
rights, as well as the prerequisites to the 
organic union of duty, happiness, respon- 
sibility, and rights with all the other re- 
ligious, moral, and economic ideals that 
each day are coming to be more generally 

Love and Ethics 27 

prevalent. Moreover, these principles can 
be adapted even now to existing condi- 
tions in so far as such adaptation is neces- 
sary for the cooperation of souls and the 
universalization of customs, so that those 
on a lower level would be educated by 
the more advanced. 

In society at large, as in the individual, 
the attainment, through every new form, 
of a fuller development of p(nver, a richer 
variety, and, at the same time, a com- 
pleter unity, signifies an upward evolu- 
tion. The forces of the spiritual life that 
now radiate in two different directions 
would be focussed were society to protect 
all children alike but allow individuals to 
protect their love. The feeling of re- 
sponsibility for the child's original char- 
acter is weakened by the current concep- 
tion of legitimacy, and for the child's 
bringing up by the current conception of 

That endeavor to elevate love to higher 

28 Love and Ethics 

levels, the impulse by which love lives 
and bestows happiness, while its cessation 
is love's death that endeavor will in- 
crease in infinite measure as soon as free- 
dom of divorce puts an end to the present 
certainty in marriage. The fact that in 
some free unions also love dies, as is fre- 
quently adduced in controversion, proves 
nothing against this possibility of a finer 
love through free divorce. Often the 
very thing that dissolves free unions is so- 
ciety's persecution of those who live in 
free unions. The objection is untenable 
that even at present the law puts only 
the slightest obstacles in the way of di- 
vorce, that delicacy of feeling, a tender 
conscience, sympathy, and similar spirit- 
ual states usually prevent a divorce, and 
that accordingly under free divorce the 
more serious-minded would remain bound 
in wedlock while the more frivolous- 
minded would enjoy greater freedom. 
For the question of free divorce does not. 

Love and Ethics 29 

in the last instance, turn upon whether it 
prevents or does not prevent misfortune 
in the present. The main thing is, that 
its psychologic effect would gradually be- 
come a growing power in creating a beau- 
tiful, dignified love life. 

Proof of this may be had in a struggle 
that has already been fought to the fin- 
ish. When parents decided the mar- 
riages of their children, particularly their 
daughters, when the one all-absorbing 
question was, ''Will I or will I not obtain 
the object of my love?" how lacking in 
spiritual qualities was love then, how lit- 
tle part it played in the whole spiritual 
life, how few shadings it had, what slen- 
der demands it made upon inward har- 
mony. All emphasis had to be laid upon 
the mere external struggle. But now, 
when the young lovers as a rule decide 
their own fate, what a wealth of new spir- 
itual sensations, of varied shadings, of 
sentiment, sensibility, and reserve they 

80 Love and Ethics 

betray to those who are privileged to look 
into their souls. It is exactly in the most 
soulful girl that we see so marked an in- 
dividualism in the will to choose for her- 
self that only a vague presentiment of a 
man's unexpressed desire will wither her 
feelings, should the hot breath blow 
upon her before her own longings have 
awakened. And among the loftier-mind- 
ed young men a corresponding will is 
growing to wait quietly for the woman 
of their choice, and check their desires, 
which develop so much more quickly 
than in women. 

These young men and women have al- 
ready travelled far beyond the danger of 
*' throwing themselves away" on passing 
loves. In brief, the very forces that lib- 
erty has set free work against the danger 
ous consequences of liberty . 

In "'Love and Marriage" the conviction 
that the sex relation must be invested 
with an all-pervasive, all-decisive signifi- 

Love and Ethics 81 

cance and sanctity was thus expressed: 
love must again become though on a 
loftier level that which it once was 
when the nations looked upon life with 
reverence: Religion. 

To every one to whom Goethe's word is 
true, that the aim of life is life itself, love 
will be a religion, and not only love, but 
every spiritual expression of life, creation, 
the search for truth, joy in the beautiful, 
work. These will be a religion in the 
degree in which they are connected with 
the whole of life. In other words, relig- 
ions perish in religion, in that all-com- 
prehensive feeling of unity for which the 
upliftment of life is the only adequate di- 
vine service and the revelations of univer- 
sal life are a daily prayer. This worship 
will be especially dedicated to the power 
that carries the spark of life from genera- 
tion to generation. And the more de- 
vout the worship the more certainly will 
each generation rise above the preceding. 

82 Love and Ethics 

Until mankind discovers some other 
way of maintaining the species, the sex 
relation, undeniably, is the earthly origin 
of life. Accordingly, the evolutionary 
view of life must make the sex relation 
the starting-point for the advancement of 
all life. It must harmonize the moral 
concept of sex with the demands for the 
advancement of life, and it must spread 
a holiness over the entire kingdom of sex 
and again make it the object of reverence 
if it serves the advancement of life. This 
does not mean merely that love creates a 
new being. It means that when created 
by a great love this being will enlarge 
the souls from generation to generation; 
it means that a richer, fuller human be- 
ing is created, endowed with a force of 
feeling that radiates its warmth. Love 
is not only the impulse by which the hu- 
man race obtains new members; it is the 
impulse by which the human race will 
become more closely welded together and 

Love and Ethics 33 

ennobled in the degree in which the chil- 
dren inherit from their parents the great 
power to love, a power which in all hu- 
man relations will react upon the whole of 
mankind. For everything in life is con- 
nected with sex love. Thus it is that in 
life-denying religions sex love is the arch- 
enemy, while in life-affirming religions it 
is the sacred impulse which not only car- 
ries the ladder of evolution but deter- 
mines it. 

Sex love stands in a most intimate re- 
lation with art, which gives sex selection 
its ideals, with literature, with the law, 
with work and religion. It is commonly 
believed that the great religious feelings 
are accessible to all. Nothing is farther 
from the truth. The religious feelings 
grow great only in those souls which, un- 
der other circumstances, would have been 
just as deeply affected by the great love. 
Since, evidently, souls grow greater when 
issuing from the union of great feelings. 

84 Love and Ethics 

ideal love would enlarge the power and 
the right of love. 

Scarcely any one as yet comprehends 
this idea because it is preached to a gen- 
eration in which love is the most betrayed 
and the most coarsened, the most neg- 
lected and the most despised of all the 
great forces of life, so much so that even 
the best can hardly conceive that some 
day it is all bound to be different. Most 
people still shake their heads in doubt 
and misgiving when told that mankind 
on its way to humanity must first bethink 
itself of love and her justice, because only 
thus can it attain a higher humanity. 
Even the most highly educated are so 
lacking in what Dante calls intelletto 
d' amove, or at least in an understanding 
of the importance of love culture, that 
they regard these words as a temptation 
to all lovers to inflate their own feelings 
until they carry them as in a balloon 
high above life, whence they look down 

Love and Ethics 35 

upon it absorbed in twofold reverence of 
themselves. In other words, every de- 
fence of the value of love to life, evident 
to almost anybody, is construed as an ex- 
hortation to overlook all other life values 
for the sake of love. 

Have those who speak so no knowledge 
of the fact that religion is sanctifying, 
strength-giving, compelling only to the 
extent in which it is love, and that the 
soul is never more religious, nor more in 
need of religion, than when it loves? For 
the soul has a limited amount of energy. 
What it expends in one way it cannot 
give in another. Have they no knowl- 
edge of the fact that love in all its mani- 
festations is of all feelings the most soul- 
enlarging, the most unifying, especially 
that love which absorbs what is highest 
in all other loves because it forms, as no 
other love does, the unity of the soul and 
the senses, of the individual and social 
life, because it forms the innermost car- 

86 Love and Ethics 

pels of the great mystical world-rose 
around which all other leaves cluster? 

That is why every endeavor to solve 
social and political problems is like build- 
ing on ground shaken by an earthquake, 
all cultural creative activity like a stream 
from an infected source, all development 
of power in the other fields of life a 
growth from a shrivelled root. And it 
will continue to be so until a new relig- 
ious reverence for love is established as 
the sole healthy, beautiful condition of 
sex life. Such a conception of love will 
create a firm foundation for society, it 
will purify the source, and convey nour- 
ishment to the root. No one who has 
gone through the poor quarter of a large 
city can have the hardihood to say that 
we talk too much nowadays about the so- 
cial question. But the sex relation is to- 
day the poor quarter of all social classes. 
And yet when a single voice is raised to 
speak this truth, even thinking people cry 

Love and Ethics 37 

out, ''Too many words are wasted on love, 
too much importance is attached to it." 

Nothing so well confirms the poet's dic- 
tum that ''the present is so full of matri- 
monial tragedies and wasted love that it 
has lost its hearing for its own misfor- 
tune. " 

It is still only the very small minority 
that listen when the religious or human- 
itarian preacher preaching morality 
points out the ravages caused by the sins 
and diseases of sex life, ravages so ap- 
palling that we should suppose the social 
consciousness would have been aroused 
long ago. Hence it is not astonishing to 
find that practically no one as yet recog- 
nizes that these ravages have their deep- 
est root in the denial or the ignoring of 
the value of love to life. Nor is it aston- 
ishing that people do not understand 
when they are told of the numerous ob- 
stacles to life due to the same cause, 
which cannot be verified by figures. 

88 LiOve and Ethics 

They ransack every nook and cranny 
and ferret out arguments to prove the so- 
cial value of marriage. They pile figures 
upon figures to show that the mortality 
through disease and suicide and that 
crime and drunkenness are greater among 
the [unmarried than the married; that 
child mortality and criminality are great- 
er among those born out of wedlock than 
in wedlock. Against love, on the other 
hand, they adduce the divorces, suicides, 
and crimes it causes. But they cite no 
statistics of all those who have remained 
unmarried, or have gone insane, or be- 
come suicides or criminals or parents of 
illegitimate children because social condi- 
tions or the prejudices of the parents have 
prevented a love marriage, because one 
of the two has voluntarily or through 
compulsion turned traitor to love for the 
sake of wealth, or ''duty," or the ''hap- 
piness of others. " 

True, we now meet but rarely with the 

Love and Ethics 39 

sort of victims of which there used to be 
many, when parents inculcated in their 
daughter the idea that she ''must not 
think of her own happiness, but the 
happiness of others. ' ' That is to say she 
must ''make happy" the man whom her 
parents approved, but make unhappy the 
man she loved. That the man of the 
parents' choice as well as the parents 
themselves forgot their duty to think of 
the happiness of others instead of their 
own that was left quite out of count. 
But what a hazy conception people have 
even yet of the truth that happiness in 
the love of two young persons is an essen- 
tial part of the happiness of the commu- 
nity; that accordingly their main duty is 
to their love; that they will be able to 
fulfill all their other duties better if first 
of all they fulfill their love duty; that 
love is not the contradiction of duty, but 
the first and the greatest duty in contract- 
ing a marriage. 

40 Love and Ethics 

In sporadic instances, to be sure, the 
strength and victory of duty has meant 
the decline and fall of love, whether a 
happy or an unhappy love; or the reverse 
has been true, love has caused the down- 
fall of duty. But who stops to think of 
all the energy lost to every nation be- 
cause the majority must still dissipate 
their energies day in day out, in dull res- 
ignation to all the obstacles in the way of 
love, or in a secret struggle against love. 
Who counts all the half -completed works, 
all the energies weakened from the very 
start, hindered in their development or 
prematurely exhausted, which, when re- 
vived, never blossom fully and fail to 
achieve their aim, or strive for lower 
aims? All this through unhappy family 
life. WTio stops to think that a large 
part of this social waste of energy could 
have been avoided had men and women 
not been taught to take everything else 
more seriously than the sex life; had men 

Love and Ethics 41 

and women not been educated for every- 
thing else but marriage; had men and 
women not obtained from society more 
right for every other great life demand 
than for their love? 

The fact that countless human beings 
lead a decent, beautiful life without the 
happiness of love does not prove that 
their life might not have been still more 
beautiful and stronger, hence more im- 
portant to society, if possessed of that 
happiness. Against those who despite 
their lack of such happiness are not with- 
out wisdom and warmth of feeling, must 
be placed those who outside of marriage or 
through it have become frozen or distorted, 
or have gone to rack and ruin. And most 
people have become so not through the 
inevitable tragedy that love's destiny some- 
times imposes and no order of society can 
relieve, but because the older generation 
has forced upon the younger its view that 
love's value in life is extremely small. 

42 Love and Ethics 

When we have got to the point at 
which love is regarded with religious rev- 
erence as the necessary basis of the ''sa- 
credness of the generation," a large part 
of the present social rescue work will be 
rendered superfluous. The number of 
degenerates and erring will diminish in 
proportion as love becomes one of the 
means of man's bliss, not the sin that 
causes his fall. When once the mighty 
powers now confined in the prison of low 
passions, of unnecessary suffering through 
sex life shall have been liberated, then 
not only the forces at present wasted will 
serve to benefit all the rest of life, but 
also all the new forces that love will 
awaken or intensify. 

But the love I mean is the personal 
and great love, which opens up to men 
all the endless variety of life, not the lit- 
tle love dalliance which obliterates vari- 
ety. That man or woman has never 
even divined the meaning of personal 

Love and Ethics 43 

love who does not know that above all it 
awakens the feeling that one's own being 
and other people's beings are something 
great and unfathomable; that it signifies 
the love of the personality of another as 
expressed in individual and social work as 
well as in love and the home; that it sig- 
nifies a reverence of personality as ex- 
pressed in the hour of joy as well as in 
the eternal questioning of the aim of life, 
to which love gives an added significance. 
He who thinks that a man imbued with 
such a love never concerns himself with 
anything but his own feelings has never 
known such a man. What one lives or 
is through and through one speaks and 
thinks about least. Even as the healthy 
man does not speak of his health, or the 
innocent man of his innocence, but health 
and innocence speak and think through 

When personal love is permitted to 
show its power to create what Ruskin has 

44 Love and Ethics 

called the real wealth of nations, **as 
many healthy, full-blooded, happy hu- 
man beings as possible," then humanity 
will reduce to harmony one of the great 
fundamental contradictions of life, the 
contradiction between man's being and 
woman's being. Then, too, the general 
prospects will be widened, the other pain- 
ful contradictions of life will be harmo- 
nized, and humanity will begin to reach 
up to the heights to which the present 
generation is but a step. Love must at- 
tain the prestige and the esteem now 
withheld from it, because, as I have said, 
the evolution of love is the mightiest 
weapon for the unbroken chain of human 
birth, by which generation after genera- 
tion inherits and transmits its physical 
and psychical powers, which grow nobler 
and attain a finer equilibrium the more 
closely together love can weld the mascu- 
line and the feminine. 

But love, in its evolution, has already 

Love and Ethics 45 

become an important factor in harmoniz- 
ing masculine and feminine qualities. 
Thus we see men and women cooperating 
in the solution of the social problems. 
Yet their cooperation is, as a rule, a 
merely mechanical combination of mas- 
culine and feminine capacities, though 
growing ever more organic. More and 
more masculine and feminine soiils com- 
bine for the furtherance of all the aims 
of life. The will of the modern woman 
that marriage should continue to he love 
signifies, among other things, that the 
spiritual interchange between man and 
woman and their common life must 
embrace more than merely the sphere of 
domestic life. It signifies that each loves 
the expression of the personality of the 
other in fields outside their own common 
life. Man will thus voluntarily encour- 
age woman's influence in fields of work 
in which, left to himself with his n^ascu- 
line mode of thought and action, he has 

4d Love and Ethics 

for so long not only wasted the new lives 
woman gave to humanity, but also the 
new intellectual forces which she has cre- 
ated, especially her own deeper and finer 

An increasing number of women, for 
example, are their husbands' friends in 
the same line of work. Both together or 
each for himself, but acting and reacting 
on each other, they accomplish so much 
more than would be possible for each 
alone. While this cooperation is attained 
through love, those imbued with the new 
idea no longer consider love a means for 
attaining other ends. They consider it 
something to be striven for as an aim in 
itself. For they never feel they are done 
with their love. In love, as in every- 
thing else, they want to attain to ever 
higher stages. 

Men, it is true, maintain that love can 
never fill their existence as completely as 
it does women's, because by a natural ne- 

Love and Ethics 47 

cessity man seeks the rest of life's variety 
outside, where his instinct for action and 
creation constantly finds new aims; while 
to a woman it is equally natural to turn 
to the inside, where by an immutable 
law she finds her highest sphere of action 
as a mother. Or, as the poet before quoted 
has expressed it: ''Man can merely love, 
woman is love itself." When man be- 
comes womanish in this regard, or woman 
mannish, the contrast, that is, the spirit- 
ual condition of sex love, is removed. 
The ''femininity" that man loves in 
woman is that very inward-turning qual- 
ity; and the "masculinity" that woman 
loves in man is that very outward-turning 
quality. It is an indisputable fact that 
if the majority of women no longer had 
the calm and repose to abide at the source 
of life, but wanted to navigate all the 
seas with men, the sex contrasts would 
resolve themselves not into harmony but 
into monotony. 

48 Love and Ethics 

Until women come to recognize this it 
must still be insisted that the gain to so- 
ciety is nothing if millions of women do 
the work that men could do better, and 
evade or fulfill but poorly the greater 
tasks of life and happiness, the creation of 
men and the creation of souls. To fulfill 
these tasks properly women require the 
same human rights as men, and until 
they have obtained these rights ''femin- 
ism" has still all its work before it. But 
in proportion as women acquire the right 
of suffrage, using this word not merely 
in its narrow political sense, but in all 
senses, the right of choice or selection in 
general in proportion as they acquire 
this right they must learn to use it in the 
field of life. They must learn to know 
that their power is greatest in those prov- 
inces in which ''imponderable" values 
are created, values that cannot be re- 
duced to figures and yet are the sole val- 
ues capable of transforming humanity. 

Love and Ethics 49 

Of what avail is it for women to speak at 
peace congresses if the children in their 
own nurseries get whippings or beat one 
another? Of what avail for women to 
speak at ethical congresses if they are un- 
able to save even one man from the mis- 
ery of being a mere fragment, if they are 
unable to bring harmonious unity into 
his life. Feminism finds a very apt crit- 
icism in two apothegms of Goethe. He 
speaks of the folly of fleeing the sun to 
warm oneself at the frost; and the first 
condition of wisdom, he says, is, '"To 
seem nothing, to be everything." 

The sun diffuses its warmth where the 
values of the soul grow; the frost reigns 
where utilities are created that the soul 
recks not of. 

The values of the soul are to be found 
in the world of feelings. It is a pity the 
modern American reform proposition has 
so blinded many women that they do not 
see that the American programme is like 

50 Love and Ethics 

the American birds whose colors are 
magnificent but who cannot sing. The 
American soul in general still lacks mu- 
sic. It has no ear for the tones and half- 
tones of life. The millions of women in 
America who leave the care of their 
homes and children to collective work 
while they themselves follow their profes- 
sions or their trades only seem to be so- 
cially useful. For it is not utilities but 
complete human beings that elevate life. 
Accordingly, all the outward improve- 
ments through legislation and social work 
remain on the whole without effect, be- 
cause neither men nor women understand 
that what really counts is the work done 
in the field of ethical values and in the 
furtherance of spiritual conditions. 

Forms, it is true, react upon spiritual 
conditions, but spiritual conditions react 
infinitely more upon forms. The best 
forms for marriage, for the right of 
motherhood, and for the protection of 

Love and Ethics 51 

children will remain ineffective as long 
as women are unable to follow the ten 
commandments given them by Schleier- 
macher, commandments which, if fol- 
lowed, would renew humanity from with- 
in outward. The sense, not the wording, 
of these commandments is: 

Thou shalt have no lover except the 
one lover, but thou shalt be a friend of 
thy friends without eagerness to please 
and without flirtatiousness. 

Thou shalt create no ideal unto thy- 
self, neither after thine own image, nor 
after the image of others, but thou shalt 
love thy husband for his own sake, for 
what he is and for the way he is. For 
nature is a stern avenger, who visits the 
empty romanticism of the girl upon the 
woman unto the third and fourth period 
of her emotions. 

Thou shalt not profane the sanctum of 
thy love, for whosoever gives herself away 
for any profit whatsoever, even if it be 

52 Love and Ethics 

for the legal right to be a mother, loses 
her fineness of feeling. 

Thou shalt contract no marriage that 
shall have to be broken. 

Thou shalt not desire to be loved by 
him whom thou lovest not likewise. 

Thou shalt not bear false testimony 
either in word or in deed by putting a 
fine gloss over the barbarities of our pres- 
ent customs. 

Thou shalt desire the education, the 
art, the wisdom and the honor of men. 

There is nothing more futile than to try 
to prove the inferiority of woman to man, 
unless it be to try to prove her equality. 
That the reflexive life is stronger in wom- 
an than in man is as important for the 
elevation of life as that man's strength 
displays itself in another direction. Just 
as the difference between man and woman 
is essential in the natural life, so also is it 
essential in the cultural life. Unnamed, 
women cooperate in men's works, and 

Love and Ethics 53 

men in women's works. The third sex 
will never have a share in the work of 
creation. Spiritual fruitfulness will re- 
sult only in the measure in which wom- 
an's soul is organically welded with the 
man's works and ideals, and the man's 
soul with the woman's works and ideals. 
That man's work belongs more to the m- 
dividual side of life and so often leads to 
strife and division, but also to progress 
and neoformation; that woman's work 
belongs more to the social side of life and 
so often makes for cohesiveness; that she 
is a better guardian of the warmth of 
feeling that ''has gradually made its way 
into human life," as Bjornson says all 
this does not tip the scale of values one 
fraction of an ounce in favor of the one 
rather than the other. 

Americanism views all problems of life 
from a very low standpoint in regard- 
ing the question of self-maintenance as 
woman's principal aim. Self -maintenance 

54 Love and Ethics 

for the woman as well as for the man is 
merely the primary external prerequisite 
to a dignified human existence. The 
most important step, especially for the 
future of socialism, is to give every one 
the opportunity of self-maintenance by 
means of the work he is best able to do, 
the work, therefore, which will conduce 
most to his happiness. This is important 
for the very reason that such work yields 
the greatest values to society. And when 
a profounder culture will have given us 
deeper insight into these things, it will 
seem as natural for society to maintain 
its women as it is now natural for it to 
maintain its army and navy, because 
women perform the greatest social func- 
tion when they educate the new genera- 
tion. It would be sad, indeed, if the new 
society were to make an engineer out of 
a Beethoven or a Wagner. And it would 
be an equally great misuse of energy if it 
put mothers to work outside the home 

Love and Ethics 55 

instead of making them educators of the 
soul. That most mothers now employ 
a method of education which is to edu- 
cation what organ-grinding is to music 
merely proves that every art must be 
learned. But it does not prove that 
women's energies would on the whole be 
better utilized if applied to other tasks 
than that of educating a more perfect hu- 
man race, a task for which all present en- 
deavors are mere preparations and the 
general connection of which is not yet 
understood. A more perfect race means 
a more soulful race, a more soulful race a 
race having greater capacity for love. 
And from no other center can this grow- 
ing power of love radiate toward all fields 
of life than from the love between man 
and woman, between parents and chil- 

THUS, the most encouraging sign of 
the time, that which holds out the 
greatest promise, is the fact that 
the modern woman's intellectual develop- 
ment and the modern man's erotic devel- 
opment have reached a stage at which 
they are beginning to invest with a new 
significance the woman's inward-turning 
quality and the man's outward-turning 
quality. We are perceiving the possi- 
bility of a love which will be the syn- 
thesis of both qualities, when woman has 
learned from man to esteem beauty in 
the form of activity, and he has learned 
from her to esteem beauty in the form of 

Although Eros still seems of as slight 
importance to men in general as the 
planet of the same name, yet the older 
Eros has engrossed their attention as 


Love and Ethics 57 

much as the newly discovered Eros has 
the astronomers' attention; because so 
many other questions are connected with 
the problems evoked by the earthly as 
well as the heavenly Eros. Eros is so 
easily able to force a man off his track 
that ''he has been generally compelled to 
follow his calling in life in the company 
of love or in rebellion against it. " This 
experience is probably the chief reason 
for man's old hatred of woman. He felt 
lowered by the kind of love he permitted 
himself, and he felt injured if he permit- 
ted himself no love at all. The present 
stage of woman's emancipation has pro- 
duced new adverse conditions for men 
through the disintegration brought about 
either by her social activity or by her 
love. Father and mother have thus be- 
gun to suffer from lack of a home since 
women have grown tired of sitting at 
home and waiting for the heures perdues 
of their husbands as such men have un- 

58 Love and Ethics 

til now regarded the hours devoted to the 
home; not without reason, seeing that 
women have filled those hours, in their 
youth, with billing and cooing, in later 
years, with grumbling and squabbling. 
/ But in all cases in which there is an 
affinity of souls and the sympathy of 
friendship, love is what it always was and 
always will be, the cooperation of the 
I father with the mother in the education 
of the children, as well as the cooperation 
of the mother with the father in all other 
great social works. If such parents were 
to do nothing but give life to their chil- 
dren and were to leave their education to 
society, they would feel deprived of the 
best part of parenthood, their life in com- 
mon, in which the personality of the man 
beloved of the mother and the personal- 
ity of the woman beloved of the father 
exert direct influence upon the children, 
more important than all other education, 
and increasing in importance in propor- 

Love and Ethics 59 

tion as the parents grow through each 

We are thus led to the conclusion that 
because happiness through love satisfies 
one of the deepest demands of human 
nature and directly sets in motion some 
of its best forces and increases others, the 
happiness of the individual in love consti- 
tutes a social value, and the higher the 
standard of love of the individuals, the 
higher will be the entire plane of society. 

But not all human beings are endowed 
with the gift to love. Even those who 
possess it have other propensities besides. 
Consequently, neither to the man nor the 
woman can the concept of happiness in 
general mean quite the same as happiness 
in love, nor, in the main, can it mean the 
satisfaction of those needs or the applica- 
tion of those capacities which depend on 
conditions over which the individual is 
himself not quite master. Happiness 
that does not signify the highest possible 

60 Love and Ethics 

development of all our powers would 
seem small. The meaning of happiness 
is the perfection of every great capacity 
and the constant expectation of satisfying 
still greater and greater demands for per- 
fection. Happiness means to love, work, 
think, suffer, and enjoy on an ever 
higher plane. This height is attained 
sometimes through ''happy," sometimes 
through ' ' unhappy" circumstances. Thus 
happiness in its profoundest sense is the 
elevation of life through the destinies of 
life. In this sense happiness is the sole 
duty to him who sees the aim of life in 
life itself. For so long as there is left a 
single duty that has not been transformed 
into the feeling of happiness, the individ- 
ual's life and the life of the great collec- 
tivity are still without their full meaning. 
In all human interests happiness is at 
once the end and the means; and not 
least so in philanthropic work for the 
happiness of others. Philanthropy, or 

Love and Ethics 61 

social work, will fail just as Christian 
charity failed, if performed merely for 
the sake of others. It is only through 
his own demands for happiness or the 
conditions that have satisfied them that a 
man can have any knowledge of what those 
demands and conditions are to others. 
The social reformer indifferent to his own 
happiness is nothing but a blind leader 
of the blind. 

Happiness as a duty is a concept which 
in its relation to love may be illustrated 
by a comparison with another great value 
of happiness, that of health. In the Mid- 
dle Ages, when men tried to enfeeble 
their bodies by hunger, dirt, and other 
mortifications of the flesh, when they saw 
God's punishment in plagues and its cure 
in processions of flagellants, they could 
not have had the remotest notion of sani- 
tation as we conceive it to-day. It was 
not until health came to be regarded as 
the will of God that individuals consid- 

62 Love and Ethics 

ered it their duty to promote it; and it 
was not until life on earth came to be re- 
garded as a good thing that society con- 
ceived it to be its duty to apply the 
achievements of science to laws of health, 
^K the overcoming of disease, and the pro- 
longation of life. Health gradually be- 
came an end in itself, happiness, which 
we are justified in striving for for its own 
sake, irrespective of whether it may be 
made useful for other purposes or not. 
Nevertheless, even to-day there are still 
sick people whose spiritual life has had 
the effect of intensifying their physical 
malady. There are many again who, de- 
spite their conscientiousness in promoting 
their health, have had the misfortune to 
lose it. There are some who are selfish 
in the excessive care they take of their 
health; others who are magnanimous in 
sacrificing their health for an end they 
regard as higher. But all this does not 
vitiate the general rule, that every indi- 

Love and Ethics 63 

vidual regards and treats his health as of 
so great a direct value to himself and so- 
ciety that it is his duty as well as his right 
to strive for the happiness of health for his 
own sake, not merely for the sake of others. 
In other words the entire conception of 
the Middle Ages has in this case been 
completely reversed. 

Coming generations will similarly re- 
verse the present conception of love, a 
conception still as inimical to life as was 
the idea of health in the Middle Ages. 
This inversion or transmutation of values 
will not prevent the appearance of condi- 
tions in love similar to those which I have 
just mentioned in regard to health. But 
the great principle remains, that each in- 
dividual wdll regard and treat his love as 
a great value both to himself and society, 
and that it will be his duty as well as his 
right to strive for this happiness. 

SINCE the above was written Doctor 
Foerster has made a criticism of my 
views; which in his Christian ascetic 
conception of life is quite natural. Ac- 
cording to this conception obedience to 
the laws of bourgeois society and religious 
authority is the only road to a higher ev- 
olution; self -discipline and self-renuncia- 
tion the best conditions of growth. Ev- 
ery word spoken in behalf of the sanctity 
and the right of love is in this view ''wor- 
ship of nature." Suffering, not passion, 
should be the road to that higher culture 
which is to be attained through self -con- 
quest. The best love is fidelity and pa- 
tience; these alone release the profound- 
est spiritual forces and join man to the 
divine. Fidelity in marriage frees man 
from his sensual instincts and passions 
and affords him the possibility of person- 


Love and Ethics 65 

al development in the higher sense. On 
the other hand ''free love" does not de- 
velop these spiritual conditions, and 
motherhood out of wedlock must be re- 
jected because it does not give the child a 
secure place in a settled family life and 
does not entail serious responsibility for 
the child. Since the child has sprung 
from passion alone the mother's love fades 
away in the face of responsibility. 

These views in the ascetic conception of 
life are, as I have said, natural. But he 
to whom the aim of life is life itself feels 
the same reverence for its sensual as for 
its spiritual demands. He knows there 
is immoral asceticism just as there is im- 
moral sensual passion immoral, because 
it is not uplifting to humanity or the in- 
dividual. He knows that when two un- 
married persons give life to a child nature 
often rewards ''passion" by endowing the 
child with splendid equipment. Nature 
seems to pursue a mysterious purpose 

66 Love and Ethics 

with this quality of ''passion" which the 
sense of responsibility cannot achieve. 

The important thing, therefore, is to 
harmonize our concepts of right with na- 
ture after we have learned to know nature 
by thorough investigation. It is not im- 
portant to suppress nature uncondition- 
ally in favor of moral concepts distinctly 
opposed to nature. A higher culture in 
love can be attained only by correlating 
self-control with love and parental respon- 
sibility^ a correlation that will follow as a 
consequence when love and parental re- 
spoTisihility are made the sole conditions of 
sex relations. 

For this reason the young generation 
must be educated to ever greater demands 
in love, to an ever higher conception of 
their right to parenthood. Self-control 
must be taught in all those relations in 
which it is a condition of true love and 
healthy parenthood. But self-renuncia- 
tion must not be preached when complete 

Love and Ethics 67 

happiness in love will contribute to the 
growth of the individual soul and human- 
ity at large. 

It is solely from this one moral point 
of view that motherhood without mar- 
riage as well as the right of free divorce 
must be judged. Irresponsible mother- 
hood is always sin with or without mar- 
riage, responsible motherhood is always 
sacred with or without marriage. Free- 
dom of divorce can never remove the ob- 
stacles that feelings and circumstances 
7lace in the way of motherhood. But it 
can overcome the irrational doctrine that 
it is always the death of the soul to sacri- 
fice others, and the life of the soul to 
sacrifice oneself for others, and that the 
individual who decides the question of 
sacrifice in his own favor thereby proves 
his worthlessness to society. 

Unprejudiced reflection, however, shows 
that in an unhappy marriage one of the 
parties must sacrifice the other. He who 

68 Love and Ethics 

goes sacrifices the one that wants to 
hold him back; he who is held back is 
the victim of him that restrains him. 
Sometimes it is a greater sin to allow 
oneself to be sacrificed than to sacrifice 
others, at other times the reverse is true. 
And if we are asked who is to decide 
which is the lesser sin the answer is: the 
individual's conscience which has to de- 
cide other equally difficult conflicts in 
duty. There is but one alternative, 
either the Catholic marriage, or freedom 
on one's own responsibility. 

As with all other questions the answer 
to this question depends upon one's con- 
ception of life. 

Either we believe that man must bend 
his reason, his will and his conscience to 
the decrees of authority, or we believe 
that man may find his own way through 
repeated experience and many and vari- 
ous trials of power. Either we believe 
that obedience is the sole road to a higher 

Love and Ethics 69 

culture or we believe that rebellion may 
be just as essential as obedience. Either 
we believe that the sensual instincts are 
pitfalls and obstacles, or we regard them 
as guides in the upward movement of life 
on a par with reason and conscience. If 
we hold the latter opinion then we know 
that in sex life right and wrong, growth 
and decay, sacrifice of oneself and sacri- 
fice of others are more closely connected 
with one another than in any other prov- 
ince of life; that in sex life ''right" often 
becomes ''wrong"; that he who sacrifices 
the other is perhaps secretly the victim of 
his victim; that "passion" produces great 
and beautiful effects which beauty cannot 

The one necessary thing is to make ever 
greater demands upon the men and women 
who take to theTUselves the right to give 
humanity new beings. 

In order to make room for these new 
demands the ethical conception that 

70 Love and Ethics 

makes the right of parenthood dependent 
upon the present fixed forms of marriage 
must fall. Then, and then only, will the 
entire moral emphasis be laid upon the 
physical and psychical character of men, 
and parents will become the most impor- 
tant factor for the children and the traits 
they inherit. Not until the character of 
the child becomes the determining ele- 
ment in society's moral conceptions will 
natural morality replace the morality op- 
posed to nature. Not that all asceticism 
will become unnecessary, but it will not 
be brought into requisition except when 
it serves the progress of life. And not 
that all fidelity must cease. Fidelity will 
become personal, husband_and wife, like 
tw^ friends, will show consideration, ten- 
derness, and-kindness t o each other t^e- 
cause they will know that that is the ouly 
way of the ir pr eserving each other^ love, 
the only way their love can attain its 
full stature. 

Love and Ethics 71 

The more souls develop the more they 
demand, not of the strongest sensual pas- 
sions, but of the greatest spiritual love. 
For his own sake the lover exacts from 
himself the control of his passion and for 
his own sake he guides his hand carefully 
in the cultivation of all conditions neces- 
sary to a common life. Thus the ener- 
gies of the soul are fveedjrom within out- 
wardly. For we learn by experience 
that the more intimately, tenderly and 
completely we love the more happiness 
we possess and give through our love. 

The old morality that still claims the 
right to be considered the only real mo- 
rality is built upon a conception of life 
according to which the divine resides ex- 
clusively in the spirit and the will, not in 
the body and its instincts and impulses. 
It is a conception that must have the sup- 
port of authority and dare not rely upon 
its own laws. 

The new morality, on the other hand. 

72 Love and Ethics 

does not regard the spiritual as hostile to 
the physical, nor does it call every mani- 
festation of nature '"divine." It sees in 
the sensual and the spiritual the two forms 
of the divine and it holds that the divine 
reveals itself the more clearly the more 
the bodily and the spiritual pervade each 
other. The animal man feels no contra- 
diction between the senses and the spirit. 
The '' spiritual" man seeks to rid himself 
of the dualism he feels by suppressing the 
sensual. The new morality aims to re- 
move the contradiction. In love this can 
be done only by means of true love. 
Through the lack or the possession of this 
sense of unity each one is able to see for 
hiviself the value and Justification of his 


IT is a false accusation, as every one 
who has read ''Love and Marriage" 
to the end knows, that I want to rob 
society of all forms. It is an accusation 
always made against those who demand 
new forms. One may doubt the psycho- 
logical import or the legal soundness of 
the new forms which I proposed; but no 
one can truthfully maintain that I de- 
manded freedom alone without any bonds 
whatsoever. But my bonds are like the 
hempen cords that tie up a young tree, 
not like the iron hoops fastened round an 
old tree to keep it from falling apart. 


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